Archives for November 2013

The moment of consecration?

The Moment Of Consecration

Through the valid celebration of the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we receive the blessed sacrament — the Eucharist. Blessed are those who have been called to the wedding feast of the Lamb (Revelation 19:9)!

Holy Mother Church teaches us that:

  • The Eucharist is literally Jesus Christ: body and blood, soul and divinity.
  • The substance of ordinary wheat bread and grape wine (transubstantiate to) become our Lord. Only the appearance (accidents) remain of bread and wine.
  • Each of the holy species, body and blood, are all of Jesus. When we receive either, we receive all of Him.
  • When the change (transubstantiation) occurs, it is instantaneous. There is no time when the host is “half” Jesus.
  • The presence of Christ endures as long as the Eucharistic species subsist.

What is less clear, and as near as I can tell not universally, definitively defined, is the exact moment that transubstantiation occurs. There are opinions offered varying by liturgy, often with compelling reasoning…   but authoritative references in support of those positions are lacking.

In the OF Latin rite, it would seem fairly clear that transubstantiation does not occur before the first epiclesis (sometimes called the pre-consecration epiclesis). This is at the beginning of the Eucharistic Prayer where the Holy Spirit is invoked (e.g. EP II: “Make holy therefore, these gifts, we pray, by sending down your Spirit upon them like the dewfall, so that they may become for us the Body + and Blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ.”)

Likewise, it is fairly clear that transubstantiation has occurred after the Eucharistic Prayer when the priest genuflects, elevates the Eucharist and says “Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.”

A strong case can be made for consecration occurring at the words of institution (“Take this, all of you, and eat of it. For this is my body which will be given up for you.”) The rubrics call for the priest to genuflect at that point, which may arguably be idolatrous otherwise. This appears to be the most common opinion, including mine, of the moment of consecration.

The second most common opinion for the moment of consecration is at the (first) epiclesis itself. It should be noted that the sanctus bells may be rung then as well as at the words of institution.

Here is where it starts to get interesting. While most of us are Latin rite Catholics, we are not the whole of the Catholic Church. 23 churches are in communion with Rome and the liturgies are not the same. They all follow the same pattern: the liturgy of the word, the liturgy of the Eucharist, the sending. This was seen on the road to Emmaus and was practiced in the early, 1st century Church. However, Eastern rite Catholics have not always had, in all cases, the words of institution and some still do not (or are even removing them to restore earlier practice). This may also be true in some non-Catholic cases where Apostolic succession has been maintained and a valid Eucharist is recognized.

One interesting discussion is in the document Guidelines for Admission to the Eucharist Between the Chaldean Church and the Assyrian Church of the East on the Vatican website. Begin reading at section #3 (The Anaphora of Addai and Mari).

Unlike in the Latin rite, even when the words of institution are spoken, Easter rite Catholics and the Orthodox point to the epiclesis if they have to pick a point where consecration occurs. There is value in NOT trying to pinpoint a specific instant but rather recognizing the whole of the Mass (or Divine Liturgy) as the action by which consecration occurs. Zenit says this well:

Concentration on the moment of consecration tends to privilege above all the aspect of the Real Presence, while taking the entire Eucharistic Prayer into account brings out more fully other aspects such as the Eucharist as memorial of Christ’s sacrifice, his resurrection and ascension, the role of the Holy Spirit, the aspect of mediation, its role in building up the Church, etc. In many ways this is the procedure used by the Holy Father in his recent encyclical “Ecclesia de Eucharistia.”

Note too that it is gravely sinful (Can. 927) for a priest to attempt consecration outside of a Mass, for example through the words of institution alone. Similarly, a priest is not permitted to consecrate additional hosts in the same Mass by repeating a portion of it (which would be a non-Mass within the Mass). The Mass and consecration are an integral whole. Attempts to do otherwise are seriously illicit and possibly invalid.

For most of us, this whole topic is simply one of intellectual curiosity. For clergy, extraordinary ministers and sacristans it may have practical implications. Unusual circumstances (e.g. this) may require a proper understanding of the state of consecration. There are many possible extraordinary circumstances. Conservative assumptions in those cases would be most prudent.

7 Quick Takes Friday (set #118)

7 Quick Takes Friday

This week: The latest issue of New Evangelists Monthly featuring a record number of contributions is ready for your perusal. Outside da Box hits it out of the park with their new video. Moms, are you satisfied with your parenting? Do miracles actually happen? A new upcoming film from Blackstone Films: Unnatural Law. Must we repeat tragic history / does truth matter at all? Passing a proposal for healthy treats by some critics.

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New Evangelists Monthly

Have you seen this new Catholic resource?

Issue #11, November 2013, of New Evangelists Monthly is ready for your enjoyment! Scores of faithful Catholic bloggers have contributed their very best pieces from October. This month brought these great topics: complacency, eye in heaven, pursuit, blessing, purgatory, Emmaus, missions, publishing, all souls, Catholic Gospel, Hail Mary, discernment, beer pizza, little teachings, book review, swinging beads, salvation, Mary’s peace, true gold, Halloween, Pier Giorgio, indifference, Mother of God, not shaming, being Catholic, the Word, St. Michael, the path, fertility, a hymn, animals, veneration, everyday life, listen up, white space, Amalekites, curiosities, forgetting?, indwells, children’s Rosary, forgiveness, last Gospels, last things, feminist, straight, obedient stars, Tridentine fallacy, non-defensive, Ba’al?, St. Jude, prayer life, healing, Lou Reed, BSA solution, priceless, miscarriages, confusion, reformed, roses, marriage, La Leche, sequins, negation, Dr. of prayer, Byzantine, addiction, standing w/saints, feminism, prejudices, reformation, Nowa Huta, survivor, faith, prison, a week, readings, sharing faith, anti-life law, returned, a poem, Church names, St. Martin, teaching children, freedom, women, settling, celibacy, Rosary, envy, sobriety, perseverance, humble, stork and 33 weeks.

This monthly “meta-magazine” showcases faithful Catholicism from theology to family life and “everything in between.” Enjoy it now at

Read Now

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I have previously featured aspect a couple other Outside da Box videos. I would say this new one is their best, but I am quite partial to this story. On the road to Emmaus Jesus broke open the word, broke bread and sent his disciples – exactly the same at every Catholic Mass since then.

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Moms, how are you doing? Are you satisfied with your parenting? How would you rate yourself?

Some moms were asked to describe themselves as mothers. Their answers are not very encouraging. Then their kids were recorded answering the same questions. The moms came back, bracing for the worst.

Spotted by Matthew Archbold

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Did miracles ever happen? Do they still happen? (Yes, of course – all the time.) The Sophia Institute is releasing a book by Patricia Treece: Nothing Short of a Miracle.

Spotted by Russ Rentler

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Blackstone Films has released a trailer on their upcoming Unnatural Law film. Fr. John Hollowell offers background on the project here. Fr. Hollowell donated $3,000 of his own money to this project.

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Now more than ever, Americans should stop their unbridled enthusiasm for their beloved political parties and think. What is our almost certain future, based on history? Does the truth matter at all to us?

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This cute commercial proposes healthy Halloween treats. Kids consider them and give their verdict.

Spotted by Matthew Archbold

Some random thoughts or bits of information are worthy of sharing but don’t warrant their own full post. This idea was started by Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary to address this blogging need. So, some Fridays I too participate when I have accumulated 7 worthy items. Thank you Jen for hosting this project!

New Evangelists Monthly – November 2013, Issue #11

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7 Quick Takes Friday (set #117)

7 Quick Takes Friday

This week: A powerful pro-life video showing the impact one man can have. Another beautifully simple pro-life video. Not religious enough: the Little Sisters of the Poor. 6 high-school kids form a singing group. Leah Darrow speaks on brokenness. A quote of the week. Unusual items from Convert Journal’s “something different” desk.

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This is a video about working in the vineyard. There is great pain and brokenness but also beauty and grace in one very determined worker, John Barros.

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A beautifully simple, scriptural, pro-life video:

Spotted by Fr. Hollowell

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The Little Sisters of the Poor, like you and me, are not considered religious enough by the Obama administration to warrant any exception from ObamaCare mandates to violate their faith. The Little Sisters must financially support intrinsic evil or be fined millions of dollars (which, of course, they do not have). This is who they are:

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These 6 high-school kids formed a schola to sing sacred music at Mass. Now available on CD.

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There are a surprisingly large number of wonderful videos on YouTube that, even after a couple years, have a low view count. Here is one from 2 years ago by Leah Darrow on Brokenness. Her comments are directed toward teens, but are good for all of us:

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A quote of the week:

Judge The Church

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From the Convert Journal “something different” desk: The Grommet. Many of you may be aware of Kickstarter, where innovators propose products and ask for funding to bring to market.

The Grommet is a complimentary idea. They are a retailer who offers useful but undiscovered products that are available right now. They call them “grommets”. They could be just another outlet of questionable quality, gimmicky products that you might see on late night infomercials – but actually are just the opposite of that. That is what makes them like the more popular Kickstarter products. Here is an example:

The products are reasonably priced and well presented. Many would make unique gifts. (FWIW: I am just passing this along and have no stake in them.)

Some random thoughts or bits of information are worthy of sharing but don’t warrant their own full post. This idea was started by Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary to address this blogging need. So, some Fridays I too participate when I have accumulated 7 worthy items. Thank you Jen for hosting this project!